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USU Professor Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Julie Smart, Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services

USU faculty member Julie Smart has received a lifetime achievement award. She has announced her retirement at the end of this academic year.

Julie Smart, Utah State University professor in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation, recently received the 2016 National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE) Distinguished Career in Rehabilitation Education Award. The award is given in recognition of career achievements in rehabilitation education and presented to educators who have demonstrated exemplary work throughout their career.

Smart worked in rehabilitation education for more than 23 years and made outstanding contributions to the field as a teacher, program developer, author and journal editor, according to USU professor and department head for the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Tim Slocum.

“Julie’s contributions to our field are innumerable,” said Slocum. “Whether it’s as editor, teacher, developer or author, Julie’s integrity and dedication to the work have made her stand out as a leader in our field.”

Smart has been instrumental in developing and sustaining the Utah State University Rehabilitation Counselor training program. Across her career at USU, the program has prepared more than 600 rehabilitation counselors with 94 percent first-time pass rate on the CRC exam. The program is currently ranked 10th in the nation among Rehabilitation Counseling graduate programs by U.S. News and World Report. In addition to growing the program and ensuring quality, Smart and her collaborators have secured more than $15 million in federal grants to support students in completing programs to become rehabilitation counselors.

Smart’s contributions as an author have included 50 peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters, many of which have focused on the critical issues of cultural and linguistic diversity and the rehabilitation process. She has also been cited as the most prolific author in the area of multicultural rehabilitation.

Smart’s most prominent publications are two important textbooks that bring together, organize and make accessible to students massive amounts of information on disability within its social and developmental contexts. Both textbooks are widely used in courses preparing rehabilitation counselors.

Smart has also made important contributions as a journal editor. She has served on the editorial review board and as an associate editor of Rehabilitation Education, and received the NCRE Outstanding Service Award.

Previous to the career award, Smart received numerous awards that reflect the excellence of her contributions to rehabilitation education. In 2011, she received the Utah State University Diversity award, given annually to a faculty member who is outstanding in his or her support of diversity issues. Smart’s award was based on her contributions to both cultural and linguistic diversity and disability. In 2001, Smart was honored as the NCRE National Educator/Researcher of the Year.

“Everyone who knows me knows that I have loved my job at USU; from the academic discipline of rehabilitation and disability, to my colleagues in the department of special education and rehabilitation, to the students who graduate and then work with individuals with disabilities,” said Smart. “My abilities and strengths have been encouraged and respected and I know it’s going to be hard to retire from such a rewarding job.”

Smart has announced her retirement from the faculty of Utah State University at the end of the current academic year.

For information about the National Council on Rehabilitation Education, visit its website.

Related links:

USU Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation

USU Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services

Contact: Julie Smart, 435-797-3269,; Tim Slocum, 435-797-3212,

Writer: Paige Pagnucco, 435-797-1429,

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